The Tale of the Tired Terminator
Schwarzenegger has revealed that in the next Terminator movie we’ll see the flesh of T-800s age, because CGI body doubling is still really expensive. Hopefully Skynet will be able build titanium-coltan alloy zimmer frames as well as endoskeletons. That said, some form of alloysteoperosis would explain why guns suddenly started working against them in Terminator: Salvation. And advanced senility with the cinematic equivalent of publicly $#!+ting yourself would explain everything else about Terminator: Salvation.
An ageing Arnie turns the iconic image of immortal machinery into the exact opposite of the point of Terminators–its entire function is to prevent there ever being any more older men–but this new sequel actually fits into the spirit of the original movies. Because the spirit of the original movies was going back and destroying everything good humanity ever achieved, and that is exactly what these movies are doing.
But why does cyborg flesh age in the first place?
- When Skynet absorbed Apple technology, Terminators suddenly start aging rapidly the very second after the year’s new model was released.
- Terminators are meant to change their skin the same way we change our underwear. Arnie joins the human rebels not because he’s been repogrammed, but because he’s been shunned by other machines as the cyborg equivalent of a filthy diaper fetishist, and watching people who can really sweat and defecate is its idea of porn.
- Terminators shares the Cybermen’s vulnerability to gold, causing them to decay further every time Schwarzenegger is lured back on set by another pallet of bullion.
- After Terminator 3 they could make them wear clown makeup without ruining the franchise any harder. A challenge Salvation accepted and succeeded.
- Visibly decaying flesh is the cyborg equivalent of pubescence, spending time covered in hideous looking skin problems before it sloughs off and they mature into true Necrons. (Though, as with all societies, some Pariahs can never get over their teenage behavior, hanging around still wearing their teenage fashion and generally being unpleasant to be around.)
But with age comes wisdom, and this geriatric technology will reveal some interesting new aspects of the Terminator universe.
- It turns out that wimpy humans who need sleep and rest were able to consistently escape the immortal, tireless, endlessly mass-produced T-800s all this time because the cyborgs need to stop every five minutes to reload anti-arthritis software from 3.5-inch discs.
- Skynet agrees to stop exterminating humanity if they agree to stop installing bull$#!+ toolbars they find online.
- Skynet meet the Borg at the “All Powerful Menaces Rendered Less Dangerous Than Sleeping Kittens by Terrible Later Appearances” mixer and really hit it off. Skynet’s parents (humanity) don’t approve of the new partner, but they’re young, they’re in love, they’re both unstoppable cybernetic juggernauts which should wipe us out in under a week and every time you have to come up with 90 more minutes of excuses of why that doesn’t happen you ruin them a bit more.
Is there hope for Cyberdyne systems? Well, they’ve already established that they’re partially rebooting the franchise, so hopefully that reboot occurs exactly one second after the end of Terminator two and just continues from there. Even better, you can build your own time machine with nothing but a DVD or Netflix install, and travel back to 1991 yourself. And if we just watch the first two movies, and pretend it all absolutely ended then, everything will be great.
Luke McKinney writes about games, drink, science, and everything else that makes life amazing. He’s a columnist on Cracked and writes for several beer magazines. He’s also available for hire. Follow him on Tumblr and Twitter @lukemckinney.
Luke recently found a real ageless destroyer of mankind in The Glory of Gin.